ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Premier Kathy Dunderdale tried to shore up faith in Newfoundland and Labrador's electrical system Monday after four days of rolling blackouts, a transformer fire and a power plant malfunction left residents cold and angry.

"I have absolute confidence in Nalcor," she said of the Crown-owned corporation Nalcor Energy. "I have absolute confidence in Newfoundland Power."

And Dunderdale said she also trusts in the provincial Public Utilities Board to review the power failure that, at its peak Saturday, affected 190,000 customers in the province of 527,000 people.

Opposition Liberal and NDP leaders have called for a more formal inquiry but the premier brushed off such demands.

Her Progressive Conservative government also deflected accusations of mismanaging power supply amid increasing demand.

Dunderdale shot back at such critics Monday. She said her government has warned for years about rising power needs as it promoted the $7.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydro project now under construction in Labrador.

Nalcor President and CEO Ed Martin blamed the most recent widespread failures on unusually bitter cold, high winds and heavy snowfall. He also cited a transformer fire and a malfunction at the Holyrood power plant — separate incidents that are still under investigation, he told a news conference Monday.

"We plan the system long-term. We have a very detailed asset management plan in place that recognizes the age of the assets and the quality of the assets," he said.

"We are putting the appropriate resources and maintenance and such into this equipment."

Frustrated residents who vented on social media and on local call-in radio shows said they weren't convinced.

By late Monday, the provincial government said fewer than 5,000 customers were still without power though that could fluctuate, and that rotating outages had wound down. But it urged consumers to conserve energy where possible to help stabilize a still vulnerable system.

Eastern Health, the province's largest health authority, also cautioned people about carbon monoxide poisoning from generators, snowblowers, engine exhaust and propane appliances. It said in a statement that one person has died and eight others have arrived with related symptoms in emergency departments since Saturday.

All schools throughout the island, including Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic, were shut down until Wednesday as a result of the disruptions.

Newfoundland Power president Earl Ludlow said Monday that crews made strides to restore power after residents and businesses were told a day earlier to conserve energy.

"I know it's frustrating, I know it's difficult," Ludlow told a news conference. "But I will also say that the plea for conservation did show up very quickly."

Planned, rotating blackouts started Thursday evening as utilities struggled to keep up with demand after frigid temperatures gripped the island.

On Saturday, a fire broke out at the Sunnyside terminal station after a transformer malfunction, triggering more outages as a blizzard slammed the island. Hydro officials are still investigating the cause, Martin said.

Then on Sunday evening, there was a flash in the switch yard at a power plant in Holyrood, plunging much of the island once more into darkness. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro said crews were assessing what caused the issue at the plant about 50 kilometres southwest of St. John's.

Ludlow said once that problem is resolved, it will help stabilize the province's energy grid.

Dunderdale has said that a key benefit of Muskrat Falls is the subsea Maritime Link that would bring power from Labrador to Newfoundland then Nova Scotia, connecting the island to mainland energy sources when needed.

Still, she has repeatedly stressed that no electrical system is foolproof.

Many in the province were keeping a wary eye Monday on weather forecasts.

Paul Mackey, deputy city manager responsible for public works in St. John's, said there is some concern about flooding as warmer temperatures, rain and then another drop below freezing are expected.

With snow accumulations standing at about 140 centimetres in some places, Mackey said it's the most he has seen this early in the winter during his 22 years in public works.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Looks pretty! I mean the Logo on truck!!! lol

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros">nmedeiros</a>:<br />

  • All signs point to ice

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Road sign fringed with ice in Brampton during the ice storm that hit southern Ontario Dec 22 2013

  • B&W ice branches

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/740788092/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele">IamSteele</a>:<br />Closeup on the first night. B&W in the Leeside neighborhood of Toronto.

  • Iced Line

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Electrical line drooping across a neighbors driveway in Brampton during the Dec 22 2013 ice storm that hit southern Ont.

  • Apple tree branch

    Toothpick size branch

  • ice Storm

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/616822574/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda">Ron Linda</a>:<br />The big one in Quispamsis, N.B.

  • Eastborne Park

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Standing Strong

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Maple Leaf in ice

  • Iced Cherry

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Frozen Cherries

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Not a tree spared!

  • Frozen In Time, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Nite Shot

  • Ice Flowers ~ Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Crews clear branches snagged on power lines on a closed road in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • An arborist cuts a tree branch dangling from a power line in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • A pedestrian walks down a street still closed due to downed power lines and trees in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Peel Region employee Dwayne Berrigan cuts fallen limbs from iced trees in Brampton,Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area, which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system, warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Travelers line up after dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Passengers sleep on the floor in the check-in line as dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm, at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Got Game

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1568910464/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend">Phil Vriend</a>:<br />The dolls on display at my neighbour's house also took a hit in the ice storm.

  • Workers from Stacey Electric, a Toronto Hydro subcontractor, work to repair downed power lines around Victoria Park and Denton Avenues in Scarborough on Dec. 23 after a severe ice storm hit Toronto.

  • A vehicle damaged by fallen tree branches is shown in the High Park area of Toronto on Dec. 23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • Fallen tree limbs are stacked up in the Urban Forestry Yard in Toronto on Dec.23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • It was his time. We all have to go some time.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen">Darryl Nielsen</a>:<br />It was his time. We all have to go some time.

  • The icy hedge

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100001296030346/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T">sunil T</a>:<br />An icy hedge in our neighborhood in Don Mills this morning.

  • A pedestrian walks under a tree blocking Wellesley Street East following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Power lines dangle on Sackville Street following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • A man pushes a stroller through an ice-covered street in Toronto, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after a storm passed through the area.

  • Ice coats tree branches as a man walks on the sidewalk in Toronto , Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after an ice storm passed through the area.

  • People clear the sidewalks on a closed off street in Toronto after an ice storm knocked down trees and power lines in much of the city on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.

  • John Szücs scrapes ice off his car near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, following ice storm.

  • Icicles hang from a downed power line on a residential street in Toronto as over 250,000 people face up to 72 hours without electricity after a storm brought heavy ice rain, on Sunday, December 22, 2013.

  • A man steps over downed power line near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 following an ice storm.

  • Our tree in Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />The ice storm tore our tree right in half.

  • Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />Our street got hit hard

  • Kitchener

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii">iiabbieii</a>:<br />Our tree sure took a beating

  • @scubafantoo

    @scubafantoo: <a href="https://twitter.com/scubafantoo/status/414775553385050112" target="_blank">#ONSTORM @StormhunterTWN @StormhunterTWN @vaughanweather @JdeQuebec Brampton, Ont! pic.twitter.com/XTHTnPjh1Z</a>

  • Lending A Helping Hand

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/775930130/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr">fitcheerldr</a>:<br />The neighbourhood coming together to help clean up after the ice storm of 2013.

  • @LoveRadollCats

    @LoveRadollCats: <a href="https://twitter.com/LoveRadollCats/status/414808493439188992/photo/1" target="_blank">#icestorm2013 Kitchener Ontario pic.twitter.com/nAxYS8VEJ9</a>

  • @ar09

    @ar09: <a href="https://twitter.com/ar09/status/414803999263428609/photo/1" target="_blank">tree down in #icestorm2013 #darkTO #680storm #icestorm24 pic.twitter.com/zWV4wFRB9e</a>

  • ‏@elanacamille

  • ‏@fitcheerldr

    ‏@fitcheerldr: <a href="https://twitter.com/fitcheerldr/status/414795586630467585/photo/1" target="_blank">Here's a pic of our neighbourhood working together to clear the downed trees. pic.twitter.com/63qWGAVyTB</a>

  • @diego153

  • @MattBellissimo

    @MattBellissimo: <a href="https://twitter.com/MattBellissimo/status/414784624125308929/photo/1" target="_blank">Normally I'd blame lightning for something like this... pic.twitter.com/P3wX5lVUe2</a>

  • @randy_mcneil

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • @canuck10001

  • @cylonchloe

  • @cylonchloe